Blue Jays: It’s been a tough campaign for Kevin Smith

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: A general view of the field through the batting cage on Opening Day of the 2019 MLB season before the start of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 28: A general view of the field through the batting cage on Opening Day of the 2019 MLB season before the start of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on March 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Entering the year as one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects, Kevin Smith has had a tough time adjusting to Double-A so far, and will hope to improve in the second half.

It seems like we’re always talking about all of the talented prospects that the Blue Jays have throughout their system, but that’s for good reason, of course.

We’ve witnessed the emergence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. lately, Cavan Biggio‘s bright future on display, Danny Jansen finding his stroke, and of course, the power show that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on for us on Monday night. There’s a lot to be excited about around the future of this team, and there are a lot of talented players yet to come.

While Bo Bichette and others might be on the cusp of a big league promotion, the 2019 season hasn’t been kind to all of the Blue Jays top prospects. For Kevin Smith, who entered the year as our #6 prospects on our Jays Journal rankings, has really had a tough time adjusting to Double-A, and looks nothing like the player who dominated with the Langing Lugnuts and Dunedin Blue Jays in 2018.

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After slashing .302/.358/.528 with 25 home runs, 31 doubles, 93 RBI, and 27 stolen bases in 129 games last year across two levels of Single-A, Smith has shown that he’s far from a finished product. He’s now played in 68 games and had 257 at-bats in Double-A this season, and he’s slashed .183/.244/.346 with eight home runs, 14 doubles, 30 RBI, and five stolen bases. Obviously that’s not the way 23-year-old had hoped to play at the next level.

It’s a good reminder for myself and probably many of you that not every prospect is going to work out as well as we dream they will. That’s not to suggest that Smith won’t eventually make his way to the big leagues and make an impact, but it’s not a given, and his struggles in Double-A are a great reminder that his game isn’t easy.

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Chances are he’ll spend the rest of the season in Double-A and hope to turn things around in the second half, and he’ll likely need at least the 2020 season to play in Triple-A before he becomes a real candidate for the highest level. Given the way things have gone for him so far this year, he’s a little ways from that milestone.

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